Tahini Caesar Dressing is our Middle Eastern take on the classic romaine lettuce salad vinaigrette.
We’ve transformed the classic Caesar Salad vinaigrette into a quick & easy recipe, a creamy and garlicky dressing.
Our crunchy romaine salad tossed in tahini caesar dressing features flavourful ingredients like anchovy, garlic, sesame paste, lemon, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil, parmesan cheese, chickpeas, smoked paprika, cumin and toasted walnuts.
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Caesar Salad History
A classic Caesar Salad is a green salad made of romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, garlic, dijon mustard, parmesan cheese and black pepper.
In its original form, the popular salad was meant to be prepared and served tableside at Italian American restaurants.
The salad’s creation is attributed to restaurateur Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who operated restaurants in Mexico and the United States. His daughter Rosa recounted that her father invented the salad at his restaurant Caesar’s (at the Hotel Caesar in Tijuana) when a Fourth of July rush in 1924 depleted the kitchen’s supplies. Cardini made do with what he had, adding the dramatic flair of the table-side tossing “by the chef.” Cardini was living in San Diego but he was also working in Tijuana where he avoided the restrictions of Prohibition.
As the salad’s popularity moved north into the United States a key ingredient changed within the recipe. Lemon juice is commonly used, despite the original Caesar Salad Dressing preferring local lime. It is thought the confusion came from the Spanish word for ‘lime’ being ‘limón’, which sounds similar.
The Caesar Salad is now one of the most popular salads in the world! You can order local interpretations of the Caesar Salad from Thailand to Tahiti. Our healthy take on salad is inspired by the Middle East and features an addictive creamy and garlicky Tahini Caesar Dressing.
Travel to the Middle East by Making Tahini Caesar Dressing at Home
I love traveling to the Middle East and North Africa.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in the Middle East, from authentic markets to award winning restaurants.
For over ten years, I’ve been on the hunt for the best Tahini Caesar Dressing via adventures that had me zig-zagging through Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Dubai. You guessed it! Some of my fondest food memories while traveling in the Middle East include fragrant feasts featuring creamy Tahini Dressing tossed in crunchy lettuce.
I’ve enjoyed Tahini Dressing tossed salads at a traditional Moroccan riad, on food tours of Istanbul and Bodrum, accompanied by Egyptian tea on a Nile Cruise and in bustling market in Cairo, late night snack in Amman, al fresco market lunch in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and accompanied by steaming bowls of soup at a massive Middle Eastern barbecue in the middle of the Dubai desert while belly dancers twirled under the night sky.
Where To Eat Tahini Caesar Dressing Salad
If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Middle Eastern restaurant that serves a creamy Tahini Caesar Dressing.
Haven’t traveled to the Middle East before? It may be helpful to first sample Tahini Caesar Dressing Salad at a local restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You’ll get an idea for the desired crunchiness of the roasted chickpeas, whether you want to serve your romaine whole or torn and how many walnuts to garnish on top.
In Toronto, popular Middle Eastern restaurants that may serve Tahini Caesar Dressing on the salad menu include Parallel, Byblos, Tabule, Fat Pasha, Maha’s, Masrawy Kitchen, Masrawy Kitchen and Paramount Fine Foods.
My Family Loves Creamy Tahini Caesar Dressing
When my family moved to Oakville the first restaurant we visited was a local Egyptian and Lebanese restaurant called Agabi. Ranked as one of the best restaurants in Oakville, Agabi, became our family’s go-to Middle Eastern take out joint.
We’d always order a few dishes to share at the table including stuffed grape leaves, homemade dips like hummus, chicken shawarma platters, lamb shashlik and simple lettuce salad tossed in creamy tahini and spritz of lemon.
My earliest restaurant memories as a child revolve around casual meals at Swiss Chalet and Pizza Hut. My family would share large bowls of Caesar Salad while feasting on rotisserie chicken and cheesy pizzas.
I crafted this tahini caesar dressing recipe to merge the best of both worlds: a love for Middle Eastern flavours and my favourite creamy and garlicky Italian American salad.
My family enjoys preparing this healthy Caesar Salad recipe at the cottage in Muskoka during the summer. Serve it as a light lunch as a meal on its own, or at a dinner party pair it with fresh pasta, gourmet sandwiches, or simple slices of sourdough bread.
The great thing about our salad with tahini caesar dressing is that you can get away with making all of the components in advance. Simply assemble a few minutes before serving your guests at the table.
Tahini Caesar Dressing Salad Health Benefits
Our homemade Tahini Caesar Dressing recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Anchovies are a high-protein food that is low in calories, total fat, and saturated fat. High in vitamins and minerals, seafood has been shown to have numerous health benefits including decreasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, obesity, and hypertension.
Lettuce is made up of 95% water so does a great job at hydrating the body. Vitamin K helps with bone strength and Vitamin A with improved vision.
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
Olive Oil is ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.
Beans are rich in cancer-fighting vitamin C, energy-boosting B vitamins, and gut-healthy fibre.
A useful source of copper, calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, sesame seeds help support circulatory, digestive and skeletal health.
Consuming dairy products (such as milk and cheese) provides health benefits — especially improved bone health. Dairy foods provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.
A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, lemons help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.
Paprika is rich in vitamin A, capsaicin, and carotenoid antioxidants. These substances may help prevent inflammation and improve your cholesterol, eye health and blood sugar levels.
A rich source of blood-building iron, cumin may also help balance your blood sugar levels and reduce bad cholesterol. It is also traditionally used as a digestive aid.
Containing more protein, fibre, vitamin E and calcium that other nuts, walnuts may reduce the risk of heart disease, keep your bones healthy, and help your body absorb essential nutrients.
Tahini Caesar Salad Cooking Tips
If it’s your first time preparing homemade Tahini Caesar Dressing be sure to review our detailed step-by-step recipe below. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started:
- We suggest preparing the various components of the salad in advance to ensure serving dinner is a breeze.
- You can whisk the salad dressing ingredients together in a bowl and store in the fridge until ready to use or prepare in a small blender or food processor.
- I like to double this recipe so I have lots of leftovers to enjoy over the next week. The dressing stores for at least 2 weeks.
- We’ve used romaine lettuce in this recipe, which you can serve as large leaves or chopped and tossed together.
- Feel free to substitute romaine for kale, just be sure to massage the caesar dressing into the torn kale before serving.
- We’ve used roasted walnuts in this recipe but you could substitue for toasted pine nuts, almonds or hazelnuts.
- We’ve used parmesan cheese in this recipe but you could substitute for other aged cheeses like gruyere, cheddar, Vache Maigre, Manchego, Beemster XO or Mimolette.
- When assembling your salad sprinkle as many of the toasted chickpeas as you’d like. They’re our version of a healthy crouton offering a nice crunch. If you have leftover chickpeas store them in a small bowl and enjoy them as a healthy snack or addition to homemade trail mix.
What To Serve with Caesar Salad
We love serving tahini caesar dressing tossed salad on warm days in the spring, summer and fall. The creaminess of the tahini pairs nicely with the acidity of the lemon and vinegar.
If you’re hosting a large dinner party you might want to serve our healthy Middle Eastern salad as an appetizer before serving heartier mains.
If you’re hosting a Middle Eastern-themed dinner party buffet you may want to add fresh mezze and regional specialities like shawarma, kebab, toum and kibbeh.
If you’re going the Italian American route, serve this creamy salad dressing with Culurgiones Sardinian Cheese & Potato Stuffed Pasta, Caramelized Shallot Pasta in Cream Sauce, Harissa Pasta, Creamy Parmesan Ditalini Soup, Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu, Warm Orzo Lemon Salad, Pici Cacio e Pepe Pasta, Italian Dumplings, Orecchiette with Sausage and Kale or Orecchiette with Sausage and Kale.
We do not suggest saving leftovers for more than a day as the lettuce quickly gets soggy and wilts. This is one of those dishes people gobble up in no time!
If you do have leftover ingredients simply store the various components in the fridge and assemble a fresh salad for lunch the following day.
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How To Make Romaine Salad With Tahini Caesar Dressing
Salad With Tahini Caesar Dressing
- mixing bowl
- Salad Bowl
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- French knife
Tahini Caesar Dressing
- 2 Anchovy Fillets
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 3 tbsp Tahini
- 1/2 Lemon juice and zest
- 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1/3 cup Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Ice Water
- 1/3 cup Parmesan grated
- Kosher Salt and Pepper
- 1 cup Cooked Chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 cup Toasted Walnuts
- 1 Large Romaine Lettuce washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2/3 cup Parmesan shaved
- Black Pepper and Kosher Salt
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Place the chickpeas on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, paprika, cumin and kosher salt. Place on the middle rack of your preheated oven and roast for 40 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway to ensure even roasting. Transfer roasted chickpeas to a bowl to cool and set aside.
- Finely chop anchovies and garlic together and transfer to a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk in the tahini, lemon juice, vinegar and mustard. While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil followed by ice water. Mix in the shredded parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.
- In a salad bowl add romaine lettuce and drizzle over dressing. Gently toss with tongs. Top with toasted walnuts, crispy spiced chickpeas and sliced parmesan. Finish with freshly cracked pepper and salt.
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